Scientists reject 'theory' after three footballers collapse in a week

Sheffield United's John Fleck is placed on a stretcher during the match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading.
Sheffield United's John Fleck is placed on a stretcher during the match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading.

Top scientists have rebuffed speculation that the Covid-19 jab is linked with the recent on-field collapses of three footballers, as pundits came under fire for fuelling vaccine hesitancy, the Telegraph reports.

Wigan forward Charlie Wyke was admitted to hospital on Thursday after a week which had already seen Sheffield United's John Fleck and Sheriff Tiraspol's Adama Traore fall suddenly ill.

After the incidents a number of former pros suggested a vaccine link but experts were quick to dismiss the theory.

TalkSport had to cut off Trevor Sinclair when he said: "I think everyone wants to know if he [Fleck] has had the Covid vaccine."

After Ramon Vega and Matthew Le Tissier also demanded an investigation into links, scientists reminded them of their "public responsibility".

Prof Robert Dingwall, a public health specialist at Nottingham Trent's School of Social Sciences, said: "There are many reasons why on-field collapses may occur, even in clusters. We should all be careful not to blame any particular cause until they have been properly investigated. It may be tempting to blame Covid vaccines but pundits do have a public responsibility not to fuel vaccine hesitancy without any real evidence that this is a common factor in widely separated events."

Prof Jonathan Ball, a molecular virologist at the University of Nottingham, added: "These are rare things, which happen sporadically. Studies have shown that Covid is more likely to cause myocarditis and pericarditis than the vaccines.

"People can collapse for a variety of reasons, so, whilst it might be tempting to link these events with vaccination you have to be sure the association is true. This is what the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency look out for – instances of rare events that are seen more often in vaccinated people than you would expect normally."